Ricardo Scales
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Ricardo Scales

San Francisco, California, United States

San Francisco, California, United States
Band Jazz


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The best kept secret in music


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12. Once Again
11. It's a New Day
10. Happy Holidays
9. Destiny
8. Straight from the Heart
7.Next Step
6. Doin' It Right
4.Forever Love (Incl."Mujer Latina" still in rotation) 3. Yes, I'm Ready
2. Someone to Watch Over Me (Solo Piano)
1. Gentle Rain (Solo Piano).


Feeling a bit camera shy


"The Black Liberace", Ricardo Scales' nickname, only tells part of the pianist's story. Like the real Liberace, he wears flashy attire on-stage when he launches into a set that showcases his incredible versatility. What the nickname doesn't tell you is that the pianist has a determination as tough as steel, and he needed every ounce of it to ever make it to the stage in the first place. Everything from his performance to his flash makes Scales' piano playing look fun and easy. And if you believed that, you'd be missing an inspiring story.

Although he plays like a master now, it wasn't always so. When Scales was 19 years old, an accident paralyzed his left hand. Severed cords left three fingers curling into his palm. The medical community, including therapists and physicians, told him that his dream of being a pianist, and the future he had worked and studied for from the age of five, were no longer possible. In fact, they all said he would never again be able to play the instrument. Unable to accept their prognosis, Scales devised his own therapy. He painstakingly used his right hand to re-teach his left hand to work the piano keys, concentrating on regaining dexterity and motion. At one point, with only partial success, he took work playing the piano for San Francisco State University's department of dance. The injury still plagued his ability to some degree, and a class instructor informed him he would make better use of his time and abilities if he found a job as a house painter. Spurred on even more by the insult, Scales redoubled his self-devised therapy sessions. Eventually the pain and sweat paid off. Scales regained the use of his left hand, so much so that it is equal in strength and function to his right hand. He went on to record 12 CDs (see discography). For 14 years beginning in 1982, he performed in San Francisco's Clift Hotel, in the historic Redwood Room. He schooled himself in a variety of genres and now excels in jazz as well as classical, in gospel as well as R&B and funk.

Scales was a musically gifted child. His mother, Patience Scales, was a music teacher. When she saw her son's gift for music, she began imparting an education in music theory. She also found a miniature piano that was just the right size for her child. When he was seven years old, Scales appeared in a recital for the first time. He studied at his mother's establishment, the Parade of Youth Music School. Two years later, he began receiving instruction from Sir Jules Heywood. His performance during a recital when he was 11 caught the ear of San Francisco Conservatory of Music's founder, Lillian Hogehead. Scales' studied with her and went on to win a San Francisco Conservatory of Music scholarship. At the school, he became a student of Beulah Forbes and Beatrice Beauregard. He also took part in workshops given by Milt Jackson, Herbie Hancock, and Bill Evans.
.........Linda Seida, All Music Guide.

Ricardo has played in many venues for many noted dignitaries, both Domestic and International. A partial list includes the following: 4 US presidents- Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, and Richard Nixon; British Prime Minister Tony Blair, San Francisco Mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown (and others) and the US National Conference of Mayors, as well as the Prime Minister of Japan.
He has also played with and for or shared billing with many legendary performers, spanning the whole spectrum of musical genres from classical, Jazz, Latin, R&B, Rock/Pop, and show tunes. A partial list of those performers are:
Leontyne Price, Charles Brown, John Hendricks, Bruce Hornsby, Jeff Kashiwa, Jeff Linsky, Nelson Rangel, SpyrGyra, Tuck & Patti, Nancy Wilson, Sheila E, Pete Escovedo, Poncho Sanchez, Elvin Bishop, The Commodores, Patti LaBelle, Jeffrey Osbourne, The Temptations, Narada Michael Walden, Stevie Wonder, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, Raul Julia, Kris Kristofferson, Robin Leach, AnnMargret, and Debbie Reynolds.
He has also been a featured Artist on numerous News Broadcasts and local TV Morning shows and at one time, even scored the opening for the Talk Show, Talk of The Town, in San Francisco.
Some of the festivals and concerts Scales has performed at are:
Cayman Islands Festival, Russian River Jazz Festival, Taste of Iowa Festival, Santa Clara Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz & Wine Festival, KBLX Listener Party(SF), Charles Krug Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards, Kautz Ironstone Vineyards, Araujo Estates Winery, Napa Valley Wine Auction, Napa Valley Wine Train, Sacramento Jazz Festival, Dennis Rodman's Illusions(Chgo), KSJZ Listener Party (Reno), Athletes Against Drugs Cruise (Chgo), and others